Hello from Nevada!
The DNC fall meeting is just over and we are already working on what comes next. But first a recap:
If you’re wondering about the state of the DNC let me tell you – the new DNC is up and running and in full motion forward. New is the byword in all conversation, and work across all zip codes (even abroad) is too. National has studied the game video, taken notes and are rolling out their game strategy with no holds barred to get out the vote and win.
That’s the summary for anyone with thirty seconds. Now for the details!
We kicked off the week with state chairs and executive director workshop meetings on Wednesday. The meetings were invaluable for getting to know state leaders, hearing their approaches and sharing our own. I attended the workshop for state chairs and vice chairs while Adrianne George and Ken Sherman helped make sure DA was represented in the executive director meeting.
The Unity Reform Commission also met Wednesday - Connie Borde, Martha McDevitt Pugh, Adrianne George, and Katie Solon represented us and will be sharing their notes later this week.
In the Association of State Chairs general meeting that evening, Democrats Abroad was honored to get a shout out of thanks for our work on Resistance Summer by DNC deputy Chair Keith Ellison.
Thursday I attended the state chairs’ IT committee meeting and shared some of our best practices and major tech asks with the group. It’s a privilege to be a member of that committee and I’m delighted that DA has been added to it!
Thanks to the advocacy of Liz Jaff I was able to meet with DNC CTO Raffi Krikorian, who is very interested in our data project and has pledged to help us meet our goal of gathering all fifty States absentee presidential voter data and matching it with more robust contact information.
During the week I met with DNC CEO Jess O’Connell and Advisor to the Chair Will Hailer to discuss our strategy for 2018 and the funding opportunities needed to fulfill that strategy. We will be able to submit a formal grant request on November 1 and we have already sent in a draft of the grant to their team for consideration.
States are organized by four regions within the DNC, and our DNC team is, uniquely, a part of each region. During Thursday’s regional caucus meetings we were each able to let our region know about our efforts this summer and next year through our state report.
Friday morning we all attended the resolutions committee meeting in support of our resolution. The committee tabled it for further consideration at the next meeting in the early spring.
The day was packed with caucus meetings and the team split up to attend as many meetings as possible. By the end of the day, Martha McDevitt-Pugh had won a seat on the board of the Women’s Caucus and Orlando Vidal on the board of the Hispanic Caucus.
We are happy to announce that we found generous support for our efforts to make sure the Veterans hot line works abroad. South Carolina DNC member Clay Middleton has already approached Rep Jim Clyburn about the issue, and the Mississippi state vice chair has vowed to work with the VA on the problem too. As well, Adrianne George and John Eastwood’s advocacy led the Veterans Council to pass a motion regarding the issue.
Anyone who got to meet Liz Jaff during her visit with us this fall will not be surprised to hear that her pitch-a-thons were tremendous successes. State parties are excited and eager to learn about new technologies - a fantastic development for our party.
During our time in Vegas we were able to speak with every member of the DNC executive committee. They are very eager to work closely with us and visit as well. Tom Perez was particularly interested in our Alabama work and asked me to make sure we push as hard as we can on getting out the vote there.
The entire DA team also had the opportunity to meet with Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto and let her know about our efforts.
I’m excited to note that our first visitor post meeting will be Larry Cohen, chair of Our Revolution, who kindly agreed to meet with DAG France next week at an event hosted by Connie Borde.
The general meeting on Saturday was inspiring as we heard Attorney General Eric Holder, Senator Harry Reid and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto give rousing speeches. Sen. Tim Caine and Ralph Northam, the Democratic nominee for Governor of Virginia, joined remotely. Tom Perez capped off the meeting with a fantastic call to action for this fall’s elections (particularly the Alabama senate race) and a last take away focused on the goals and direction of the new DNC.
Saturday was also Ken Sherman’s birthday and we were delighted to wish him many happy returns before we parted to begin making the long trip home.
Tremendous thanks to the team for the time spent together and the work that everyone did making sure the hundreds of DNC members knew Democrats Abroad, our value and what we can do to help them in their election efforts.
Any questions, let me know! I’ll be back online on Tuesday (just boarding to fly home now :-).
Minutes of the Executive Committee of Democrats Abroad Guatemala
Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at 5:30 pm
Letty Manne’s house/Via Skype
Attendance: John Chudy, Chair; Mary Lou Ridinger, Vice Chair; Lyn Totino, Secretary; Tom Totino, Treasurer; Kee Kalwara, Events/Membership/Fundraising Coordinator; Annie Vanderboom, Member at Large; Dave Evans, Member at Large; Letty Manne, Consul; and via Skype: Rachael Shenyo, Occidente MeetUp Group Deputy Chair.
Call to Order - 5:35 pm
The agenda and minutes of the previous EXCOM meeting September 6th were approved unanimously.
Our Net Worth stands at Q710.40 of which Q310 is a credit at the Revue. So far this year, we generated revenue of Q2,798 from showing seven movies. After paying for space rental and the popcorn lady we’ve netted Q2,023 well on our way to covering the Q3,800 cost of the projector. Now that we have more than Q500 in cash the Treasurer proposed reimbursing John Chudy the remaining Q100 owed to him for purchase of food and fireworks for the July 4th sundowner. The ExCom agreed and John was paid. The report was accepted unanimously.
Events for 2017:
Fog of War was shown on August 25. It was reasonably well attended and we made money selling wine and popcorn.
Before the Flood was shown on September 22. Attendance was 15.
We netted Q255 after paying Q50 for rental for CCC and Q50 to Azucena for making popcorn.
Argo was shown on October 13. Eight attended. Our net was Q185.
Megan Leavey, a true story about a young marine and her bond with her military combat dog, will be shown at CCC on November 17 at 6:30pm.
Christmas Vacation will be shown at CCC on December 15 at 6:30pm.
Beginning January 20 DAGT will begin our Anti Inaugural Anniversary fund raising drive. John will be working on the wording of the email that will be sent out. Members can donate through PayPal or perhaps another like Stripe.com. John and Kee will discuss the best option. We will offer prizes for donations of over $25: a women’s caucus 2018 calendar or a cap embroidered with Lo siento por el imbécil. In the Skype chat box, Rachael wrote that she can obtain hats with the language embroidered for Q240 per dozen, or stamped for Q180. John will purchase the calendars and donate them to DAGT, provided they arrive in time. The donation drive will last until February 20. The funds we bring in are absolutely necessary to pay for our Get Out the Vote efforts for the 2018 midterm elections.
The calendars and the caps will also be sold at all of our events.
DAGT Policy Retreat:
To kick off our fundraising month we will be having a one day retreat in Antigua. This will take place on January 20th. Kee will be looking for the perfect venue which will be announced. The event will be organized around 4 or 5 issues that frustrate and concern Democrats. We will have a presenter for each. Each presentation of about 15 to 20 minutes will be followed by discussion for about 45 minutes. The issues thus far are: Achieving Universal Health Care, The Democratic Party leftist economic romanticism and Identity Politics, Immigration, Russia and US Elections, Key 2018 House and Senate Races. We need volunteers to select and present one of these topics or another of interest. John sent out a separate email providing more details and volunteered to lead the discussion on Universal Health Care and the Democratic Party.
The next meeting will take place at 5:30 pm on November 29. The venue has not been decided. This meeting, like all of our meetings, is open to all members.
Lyn and Tom will be gone from December 16 to January 6. John will be gone from October 31 to November 22 and from December 6 to 30. Dave will be gone from November 22 to December 24. Letty will be gone from November 28 to December 14. Annie will be gone from December 20 to January 7.
Adjourned: 6:48 pm.
In preparation for the 2018 election cycle, the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) updated the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) and Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB). Service members, their eligible family members, and overseas citizens may use the FPCA to register to vote, request absentee ballots, and update contact information. If they do not receive their requested absentee ballot from their State, they can vote using the FWAB as a backup ballot.
The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) requires FVAP to prescribe both standard forms, which are accepted by all States and territories in elections for federal office. Both forms require review and public comment every three years. The forms are available at FVAP.gov, and through an online assistant for completing them. While voters also have the option of using other types of absentee ballot request forms, these forms may not grant the same protections that UOCAVA ensures, such as the option to receive their blank ballot electronically and the requirement for election offices to send ballots to voters at least 45 days before elections for federal office.
To develop the new forms, FVAP leveraged an iterative process of expert design input, information gathering and testing with election officials, voters, and other stakeholders. Thanks to these efforts and the feedback received during public comment periods through the Federal Register, the forms have been improved with easier-to-understand instructions and visual cues, including larger text and color, to simplify form completion and clarify the submission process.
“This was by no means a solitary effort - the improved forms are products of stakeholder collaboration, usability testing, and valuable input from the public. I thank everyone who took the time to provide insight, and I hope you can see your efforts reflected in the updated forms,” FVAP Director David Beirne said. “These forms represent the latest example of FVAP’s dedication to continuous process improvement and applied research to increase the opportunity for our military, their families, and overseas citizens to successfully cast an absentee ballot.”
FVAP recommends voters submit a new FPCA in January of every year and each time they move, and to use the FWAB if they haven’t received their ballot from their State in time to return it by the election deadline.
•The FPCA and FWAB can be completed using an online assistant (fvap.gov/military-voter/registration-ballots)
•Download the fillable FPCA (fvap.gov/uploads/FVAP/Forms/fpca.pdf)
•Download the fillable FWAB (fvap.gov/uploads/FVAP/Forms/fwab.pdf)
Summary of Changes
•Updated section headings that reflect intuitive descriptions to help the voter complete the forms (i.e., “classification” changed to “Who are you?”; “voting residence address” changed to “What is your address in the State or territory where you are registering to vote or requesting a ballot?”).
•Removed Witness Signature box. On the FPCA, no State requires a witness; on the FWAB, the “additional information” section is used for the four States requiring witness signature(s).
•Added list of States that require additional information. This change was based on usability findings that showed voters do not look up State-specific information unless directed to do so.
•Removed the request for Race, as it is not a UOCAVA requirement.
•Simplified the choice for blank ballot receipt transmission by changing the rank-order preference to checkboxes; test groups found the ranking option confusing.
•Implemented visual cues, including larger text and color, to simplify form completion and clarify the submission process.
•Redesigned the printed FWAB structure to eliminate the Security Envelope. The ballot portion folds in half and seals using self-adhesive strips.
Important Information for Voting Assistance Officers
Voting Assistance Officers should send voters to FVAP.gov whenever possible to use the online assistant or access the fillable-PDF forms. Hardcopy forms will NOT be available until later this year. Please wait until you receive additional guidance to order the hardcopy forms through your proper Service channels.
Please update your communications and materials with links to the new forms (as applicable).
Do not distribute old versions of the forms to voters; however, if a voter has obtained an older form, he or she may still use it, based on current State requirements and contact information.
Overseas citizen groups should encourage voters to use the online assistant, but can contact FVAP directly to acquire hardcopy forms later this year.
Important Information for Election Officials
Election officials should begin accepting the new forms while continuing to accept previous editions of the forms. While the forms include the statement, “Previous editions are obsolete,” it is in reference to Federal printing requirements through the General Services Administration (GSA) only and not related to voter use, or election official processing, of the forms.
Please update your communications and materials with links to the new forms (as applicable).
Federal Voting Assistance Program
The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) is a Department of Defense (DoD) organization that works to ensure Service members, their eligible family members, and overseas citizens are aware of their right to vote and have the tools and resources to successfully do so — from anywhere in the world.
FVAP assists voters through partnerships with the Military Services, Department of State, Department of Justice, and election officials from 50 States, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. State and local governments administer U.S. elections, including those for federal offices. FVAP supports State and local election officials by providing absentee voting information, materials, training and guidance.
Voters can contact FVAP’s call center at 703-588-1584 (toll free 1-800-438-VOTE or DSN 425-1584) or email (email@example.com).
Toll-free phone numbers from 67 countries are listed at FVAP.gov.
Find FVAP on Facebook at (facebook.com/DoDFVAP) and Twitter (twitter.com/fvap).
Dear DNC Member,
Pursuant to our rules, this email serves as your 7-day notice for our upcoming 2017 DNC Fall Meeting, October 19th - 21st, 2017 at Bally's Las Vegas, in Las Vegas, NV. Please find below key information on our meeting.
You will find an updated overall schedule for the meeting here.
You will find the agendas for the various meetings throughout our 3 days in Las Vegas, which are subject to change, here.
Should you not be able to attend any portion of the Fall Meeting, you can fill out a proxy form here. We will need you to fill out a proxy form for each individual meeting that you cannot attend.
On Wednesday, October 18th registration will be open from 6am-9pm at the hotel. Feel free to stop by as you arrive to the hotel.
Please find below the Election Fact Sheets for the various caucuses and councils.
Regional Caucuses (for specific information please refer to the Regional Caucus Fact Sheet):
Constituency Caucuses (for specific information please refer to the Constituency Caucus Fact Sheet):
Councils (for specific information please refer to the Council Fact Sheet):
•Seniors Coordinating Council
•Native American Council
•Small Business Council
•Veterans & Military Families Council
If you are interested in running for an officer position within a caucus, you can find the nominating form here. To note, the form is fillable, so you can send it to members of your caucus to gather the required signatures. In order to ensure there are no technical issues accessing these forms, we recommend using internet browsers other than Internet Explorer.
As we conduct our general party business in Las Vegas we will also have a number of actions that members can take throughout the week. Please find them below:
•October 19th from 12pm-4pm & October 20th from 12pm-6pm the DNC Action Center will be open where members will be able to phone bank into key targeted races
•October 19th from 11am-12:30pm & October 20th from 3pm-4:30pmthe DNC Pitch-a-thon will be happening where tech companies will be able to pitch their services and for state party members and EDs to provide feedback.
•Friday, October 20th from 12pm-6pm the DNC Exhibit Hall will be open where members can connect and build relationships with allied groups
•Friday, October 20th in the Evening - DNC members are invited to take part in the Las Vegas Pride Parade with the Nevada State Democratic Party. More information will be shared as we solidify logistics Chair's Appointments In a separate email Chairman Perez will send you his nominations for the 75 at-large DNC Members and appointments to the DNC Standing Committees. Arriving in Las Vegas Here are some friendly travel tips that might help you prepare.
•Cab ride from McCarran International Airport: $25-$30
•Check-In at Bally's is at 4PM and checkout is 11AM. To note, if you check-in prior to 4PM you will incur a $20 charge
•There is a cost for parking at Bally’s. The parking fee is $10 a day for self-parking, or $18 per day for valet parking
As always, if you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me or my staff.
Democratic National Committee
Highlight and click on this link to this fascinating and informative report on the recent of history of wages in the United States.
Week 28: Donate to Hurricane Relief
Dear DNC Member,
The past few days have been devastating for our friends in Puerto Rico and all those in the path of the hurricane Maria. Please consider donating to the Red Cross to help those affected if you can.
Democrats have been united against the latest GOP health care repeal effort. And Senator John McCain’s dramatic announcement today that he will not vote for Graham-Cassidy has carried the bill one step closer to defeat. But the fight isn’t over yet. We need to make sure Trumpcare ends up in the dustbin of history where it belongs once and for all. While Senate Democrats held countless hearings, accepted more than 180 Republican amendments, and debated the Affordable Care Act for over 160 hours on the floor, Republicans will vote on a bill with little if any debate and without a CBO score or basic knowledge of how many millions of Americans will be hurt.
If doctors made health care decisions for patients without knowing the consequences, they would be sued. But that’s exactly what Republicans are doing right now. This is not regular order – it’s malpractice. And any member of Congress who supports this sham deserves to be voted out of office. Millions of Americans would be at risk, so we need as many voices as possible to defeat this life-threatening bill.
One of the most troubling aspects of this bill is its lack of funding for opioid addiction treatment. Opioid addiction is taking lives and tearing apart families. Instead of fighting to address the problem, Republicans in Congress want to ram through this partisan bill to take away people’s health care and slash billions in funding for addiction treatment. More than six weeks after calling the opioid epidemic a national emergency, President Trump has done nothing to help those affected. Now he’s leading the Republican charge to strip protections and resources from the working families who need them most.
This issue knows no party. From New Hampshire to Nevada, the opioid crisis has ravaged communities across the country. We cannot sit idly by while Republicans choose cruelty over compassion and destroy the lives of millions. We must elect more Democrats to fight this urgent crisis with the urgent action it demands.
We’ll have the chance soon with Election Day 2017 is less than 50 days away. Things are heating up in Virginia, where our candidate for governor, Ralph Northam, had a tremendous debate performance against his opponent on Tuesday night. Northam has spent his life as a public servant, while Republican nominee Ed Gillespie has made a career serving big corporations, special interests, and himself. Hard-working Virginians need a candidate that will support them and their families. Ralph Northam is that candidate.
But the Virginia governor’s race is just one election where voters are flocking to Democrats. Our CEO Jess O’Connell and DLCC Executive Director Jessica Post published a piece on TIME.com about the recent string of Democratic victories in special elections across the country, including in some deep-red districts where Trump won handily in November. From New Hampshire to Oklahoma, the American people are sending a loud and clear message: Democratic values are American values.
So much is at stake in these elections. Working families deserve a better deal from their representatives. They deserve a better deal on health care and housing, on wages and workers’ rights, on education and retirement security. And as our incredible National Political and Organizing Director and new mother, Amanda Brown Lierman, wrote in a Medium post this week, working families deserve a better deal on child care. Democrats are offering that better deal, and the American people are responding at the ballot box.
This week also marked the start of the Jewish New Year as communities in America, Israel, and around the world began to observe the Jewish High Holy Days. From the beginning of Rosh Hashanah to the final sealing on Yom Kippur, the Days of Awe are a time for reflection, repentance, and renewal.
Over the past year, we’ve seen how fear and hatred can divide our country. But while each new year brings new challenges, the DNC will always be a steadfast partner to Jewish communities as we combat anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, and as we continue the work of tikkun olam.
Democratic National Committee
Press Contact: Aloka Barthel
Tel: (+49) 017632935147
Democrats Abroad Endorses “Medicare-for-All” Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 20, 2017 – Democrats Abroad endorses the “Medicare-for-All" bill introduced in the U.S. Senate on September 13th by Bernie Sanders and co-sponsors including Sens Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris.
"The ‘Medicare-for-All’ bill is currently the best route to attaining the goal of universal health care and as such we endorse it." stated Julia Bryan, International Chair of Democrats Abroad, on behalf of the International Executive Committee of Democrats Abroad. "We invite those who favor other routes to put forward ideas that are as practical and thorough in attaining coverage for all.”
As Sanders explained in The New York Times Wednesday, the bill would mean that “every family in America would receive comprehensive coverage, and middle-class families would save thousands of dollars a year by eliminating their private insurance costs as we move to a publicly funded program.”
The endorsement from Democrats Abroad is the most recent push in support for universal health care from the organization, which has consistently maintained a stance that health care is a right, not a privilege. Americans around the world have advocated for an affordable healthcare solution for residents in the United States similar to what many have experienced first-hand overseas.
The organization is currently asking Americans abroad to share their perspective through http://democratsabroad.org/healthcare_stories.
“We consistently hear stories in support of universal health care, including many about 'health care refugees' - Americans abroad who can't return to the States because their health care would be cost prohibitive back home," added Bryan. "Health care should be a given, not a question mark, and it's time for U.S. policies to reflect that."
***Addendum: As an issue that impacts Americans across all demographics, additional quotes on this issue are provided below.
Ana Blackstad, Chair, Hispanic Caucus of Democrats Abroad: “Latinos face the highest uninsured rates of any racial or ethnic group within the United States. ‘Medicare-for-All’ would help Latino families access preventative care for illnesses that disproportionately affect the Latino community, such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and asthma.”
Ann Hesse, Co-Chair, Women’s Caucus of Democrats Abroad: “Health care is absolutely key to a woman's well-being and economic stability, and we know that women are particularly discriminated against in the patchwork of health care plans currently available in the US. We believe that this bill provides the very best chance yet for our mothers and sisters back home to have the same access to high-quality care that we enjoy abroad.”
Salli Swartz, Co-Chair, Women’s Caucus of Democrats Abroad: “The Democrats Abroad Global Women's Caucus strongly supports the ‘Medicare-for-All’ bill introduced this week before Congress by Bernie Sanders. This Bill if enacted will protect women's' right to health care which is essential to protecting our rights to maternal care to pregnant women and children and reproductive health benefits."
Martha McDevitt-Pugh, Chair, LGBT Caucus of Democrats Abroad: “A health crisis can hit any community, and LGBT Americans know only too well the devastating consequences discrimination can have on the health of individuals and communities. The ‘Medicare-for-All’ bill would ensure access to care for lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and transgender people and provide a foundation of integrity for American society and our families.”
Democrats Abroad is the official organization of the Democratic Party for United States citizens living permanently or temporarily abroad. The organization is given state-level recognition by the Democratic National Committee, with eight positions on the Democratic National Committee, and sends a voting delegation to the Democratic National Convention to select our presidential candidate.
For more information, visit http://www.democratsabroad.org.